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Full text of "To The Lighthouse"

THE   WINDOW

confident, upright, she created drawing-room and
kitchen, set them all aglow; bade him take his
ease there, go in and out, enjoy himself. She
laughed, she knitted. Standing between her knees,
very stiff, James felt all her strength flaring up
to be drunk and quenched by the beak of brass,
the arid scimitar of the male, which smote merci-
lessly, again and again, demanding sympathy.

He was a failure, he repeated. Well, look
then, feel then. Flashing her needles, glancing
round about her, out of the window, into the room,
at James himself, she assured him, beyond a
shadow of a doubt, by her laugh, her poise, her
competence (as a nurse carrying a light across a
dark room assures a fractious child), that it was
real; the house was full; the garden blowing. If he
put implicit faith in her, nothing should hurt him;
however deep he buried himself or climbed high,
not for a second should he find himself without
her. So boasting of her capacity to surround
and protect, there was scarcely a shell of herself
left for her to know herself by; all was so lavished
and spent; and James, as he stood stiff between
her knees, felt her rise in a rosy-flowered fruit
tree laid with leaves and dancing boughs into
which the beak of brass, the arid scimitar of his
father, the egotistical man, plunged and smote,
demanding sympathy.

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